The Ras-Erk-ETS-signaling pathway is a drug target for longevity

Cathy Slack, Nazif Alic, Andrea Foley, Melissa Cabecinha, Matthew P. Hoddinott, Linda Partridge*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Summary Identifying the molecular mechanisms that underlie aging and their pharmacological manipulation are key aims for improving lifelong human health. Here, we identify a critical role for Ras-Erk-ETS signaling in aging in Drosophila. We show that inhibition of Ras is sufficient for lifespan extension downstream of reduced insulin/IGF-1 (IIS) signaling. Moreover, direct reduction of Ras or Erk activity leads to increased lifespan. We identify the E-twenty six (ETS) transcriptional repressor, Anterior open (Aop), as central to lifespan extension caused by reduced IIS or Ras attenuation. Importantly, we demonstrate that adult-onset administration of the drug trametinib, a highly specific inhibitor of Ras-Erk-ETS signaling, can extend lifespan. This discovery of the Ras-Erk-ETS pathway as a pharmacological target for animal aging, together with the high degree of evolutionary conservation of the pathway, suggests that inhibition of Ras-Erk-ETS signaling may provide an effective target for anti-aging interventions in mammals. Video Abstract

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-83
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2015

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